6DOF Joystick

by i-make-robots, published

6DOF Joystick by i-make-robots Apr 23, 2013


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All my designs & progress available @ http://marginallyclever.com. I can make one for you if you want.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhuM6Cnn5Pk
Some times creation is all about low hanging fruit. I already have a Rotary Stewart Platform (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:64396) and I suck at Kerbal Space Program. I thought if I could make a 6DOF joystick maybe I could do better at orbital rendezvous. It could also work in Minecraft or Descent, maybe.
If you use one of my designs, please let me know! I'd love to see what you make with it and share with others who are interested.
It would be awesome if someone would help improve the kinematics for this robot. Forward kinematics are beyond my math skills and they're essential to make the joystick complete.


  • get the code from github.com/MarginallyClever/RotaryStewartPlatform/
  • get the parts kit from bit.ly/ZO0Dec or laser cut this design. You'll need two frames, one end effector1, and three end effector 2.
  • get three TAMIYA 70171 kits. Cut the M3 rods in half.
  • modify the servos: remove the pcbs and wire the potentiometer directly to the cable.
  • assemble as you see in the pictures. You'll have one extra end effector plate when you're done. Use the extra M3 rods to sandwich the two frame plates together, securing the servos in place.
  • upload firmware
  • drive one stewart platform from another

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Which servos are you using? Are you using any different ones on the master platform?

The servos are all the same. I modified the master servos to act as sensors only. If you want off the shelf solution, try 4-wire servos: http://www.adafruit.com/products/1450

Awesome, thanks for the link. Do you know if those servos can be easily back-driven, or would I have to disconnect the motor/gears inside of them to use as a plain sensor?

EDIT: Just looked at the video on that page, looks like their servos are backdrivable but are a little tight. Maybe I can detect if a servo starts accelerating and help slightly push it along until the user stops accelerating... hmm (I haven't looked at your master code yet so I don't know if you're doing anything like that with your servos).

I'm building one right now for my engineering class and I've got everything down except the wiring. Could you help with that? Or post a clearer picture of the wiring job you did here? Thanks!

All the reds go to 5v. All the blacks go to GND. All the left servos have been modified to be just potentiometers, and they go to analog pins 0-5. The right are normal potentiometers and they go to digital pins with PWM. Then it's a 1:1. You could also record the values to an SD card and play it later, or send them over the web... that parts kinda boring for me, so I didn't bother.
There are also 4-wire servos (adafruit?) that will let you record and playback on the same servo.

When you get it working, tweet a pic to @MarginallyC so I can share it on my blog.

To get it to work on Windows as a joystick why not use a Teensy? I'm currently working on a joystick platform for KSP that uses a plugin and a Teensy to look like a gamepad/joystick.

Could do. Board is not a big issue; software is. The math for Stewart Platform forward kinematics is h-a-r-d.

Nice, maybe good for 3d printer platform too, if servos could be more accurate ;)

yes. Like the Rostock, but with more options.